More on the Journal of American Orthodox Church History (JAOCH)

Earlier today, we posted a press release announcing the publication of the first issue of SOCHA’s peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of American Orthodox Church History (JAOCH). This has been in the works for a long time, and I’m really excited that it’s here. The table of contents is available here, but I thought I’d briefly discuss some of what you’ll learn if you buy the journal.

  • Back in 2009, I gave a paper called “The Myth of Past Unity” at a St. Vladimir’s Seminary conference. It’s gotten a fair amount of attention, and some people took issue with my conclusion — that there was not a single, unified American Orthodox Church prior to the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution (or, if you prefer the 1921 incorporation of the Greek Archdiocese). Anyway, over the past couple of years I’ve been asked many times if (or when) that paper would be published. It’s here in JAOCH, beginning on page 2.
  • The second main article in the journal is by Fr. Oliver Herbel and discusses the work of Fr. Boris Burden, one of the most influential convert clergymen in American Orthodox history. Burden, and his longtime (and better-known) associate Fr. Michael Gelsinger, were behind multiple attempts to bring together the various American Orthodox jurisdictions. As far as I know, this is the first substantial scholarly treatment of Burden’s efforts.
  • Fr. John Erickson is the foremost historian of American Orthodoxy, and we are very fortunate to have a major contribution from him in the first issue of JAOCH. His paper, “Slavophile Thought and Conceptions of Mission in the Russian North American Archdiocese, Late 19th-Early 20th Century,” provides an essential framework for understanding the sometimes-mythical Russian Mission in North America. This is the era of Tikhon and Platon, Hapgood and Hawaweeny, and Fr. John’s paper helps us better understand the ideas that shaped that period.
  • Next, the journal features a 1967 article by ROCOR author Fr. Constantine Zaitsev, translated into English by Evgueni Kadossov. This is a remarkable text. It proposes the idea of America as a sort of “Fourth Rome.” You have to read the article, and Dr. Kadossov’s introduction, to really grasp the concept, but it’s a fascinating argument, and a wonderful contribution to JAOCH.
  • Finally, the journal features two book reviews, one by Fr. Oliver and the other by Amy Slagle. Fr. Oliver reviewed Fr. John McGuckin’s ambitious Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and Dr. Slagle wrote about a biography of Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, an important French Orthodox theologian who died in 2005. She taught at the famed St. Sergius Institute in Paris, which had such an influence on American Orthodoxy (by way of figures like Schmemann and Meyendorff).

The journal runs 98 pages and costs $10. There’s some really groundbreaking material in there, and I hope all the readers of will get a copy. (Oh, and in case you missed it, here’s a link to purchase the journal.)

This article was written by Matthew Namee.